The Content Marketing Blog

3 dating tips for marketers…incoming!

How do you feel about stalkers? Stupid question isn’t it. And I’m sure that your friends, family and customers would agree that stalkers really aren’t cool, right?

It’s time to take a look at your inbound marketing efforts because when reaching out to new people – regardless of context – shouldn’t we all be playing the dating game?

Tip 1. Make a good first impression

I am sure you will have noticed what happens when a beautiful woman or a handsome man walks into a crowded room or a bar?  People look at them.  In fact, some people will actually walk over to them and offer them a drink or strike up a conversation with them.

reaction animated GIF

Make sure you (and your content suite) look your best when you’re ‘on the pull’ and checking out who’s on the market.

The most successfully marketed businesses gain the attention and interest of potential clients by making themselves attractive.

Tip 2. Get to know me before you ‘label’ me

Relationships are hard and sometimes we destroy them before they even come to be. We’re so excited about this new person, this new prospect, that we just want to jump to the end where everyone is happy and in love. And in doing that, we ruin the whole thing.

Doctor Who animated GIF

Don’t rush things or push yourself (or your content) onto new people or prospects – show them what you’ve got to offer and let them ‘suss you out’ for themselves – give them time to think about whether they’re interested in what you have to offer or not.

When prospects decide that they want to find out more, they’ll give you a call or send you an email. Just make sure that they’ve got all the information they need in a suitable format, and at a time and place that suits them, and keep an eye on their levels of interaction. (An interaction could be time spent on page, social shares or click through rates.)

When you push for immediate conversions, you put people off. Time it right and approach them when they’ve expressed an interest; then you should be on to a winner.

Tip 3. Nobody really thinks speed dating works

Are you looking for something long term? A meaningful relationship or a loyal customer?

Good things come to those who wait, so don’t rush things or expect to meet the man / woman of your dreams overnight. Likewise, don’t expect your inbound efforts to return hordes of hungry customers the first time you present your brand or content online. It takes time to build awareness, trust and to really catch someones eye.

You should be using inbound or ‘attraction marketing’ to make a great first, second and possibly third impression.

And remember; don’t pursue your targets without getting to know them first – that’s stalking. Not cool guys, not cool.

Do you really need to ‘pay to play’ on social media?

So I have a question: how the heck are we supposed to get noticed and win SEO points nowadays when literally everyone is adopting the same techniques and competing for the same space?

This exasperated question is one we’ve probably all asked ourselves at one time or another, and there’s no denying that getting noticed organically is only getting harder.

Hubspot asked 700 marketers across Europe about their experience with organic versus paid content distribution methods and as you might expect, free, organic techniques were rated highest.

Organic traffic (SEO) has been named as a top-rated marketing objective (62%) for 2015, which suggests that focusing on SEO is still as important as ever despite the ongoing debate that it’s not as effective as it once was.

The key to standing out in the SEO stakes is to understand what content works on which platform – how it works – and to build your strategy around using each network to its fullest potential.

And the secret to staying on top of what’s hot in SEO is to, well, make sure you keep on top of things (funny that).

You’re not going to be competitive if you aren’t ‘down’ with the latest tricks when it comes to content marketing and social media.

I attended The Digiterati’s Social Media Masterclass to find out exactly what these latest changes were and how I would need to adapt my practices to gain as much SEO value from my work as possible.

But as with all things in this fast changing digital world, a killer tactic today may soon be worth very little tomorrow if the network you’re using it on decides to change the rules or if it simply becomes diluted due to the fact that everybody else starts doing it.

So what are some of the key social/content tricks you should be aware of right now, according to the experts?

Here’s my roundup:

Google only indexes certain sites so don’t waste your time optimising for search on all of them.

  • Forget organic reach on Facebook – your posts aren’t indexed by Google. If you want to get your message seen, you need to pay to play (aka advertise).
  • Google now indexes tweets but generally organic reach on Twitter is abysmal – much worse than Facebook in fact. Twitter also demands that you share content more frequently to get noticed, or pay to play to maximise your outreach.
    • TIP – did you know that you should never start your tweet with an @ because only people following you and the person you’ve ‘@ handled’ will see it? You can insert any character apart from a space in beforehand to resolve this.
  • Google does index Pinterest pins but affiliate links are banned. You can include one verified link on your Pinterest profile page, so remember to plug this link when you post your pins to encourage referral traffic to your website.
  • Pinterest as a whole has less frequent visitors but they each spend more time on site. Alt tag descriptions should be unique for each pin and different from your website content because in a duplicate content battle, Pinterest will win and steal SEO authority from you.
  • As it stands, you’ll only pay for promoted Pinterest pins if someone clicks through to your website – this could change soon so get in there quick.

50% of European Marketers surveyed are not using Twitter ads.

  • Twitter ads can be really pricey and the Digiterati team think that the 3 legacy ad-types (promoted accounts, tweets and trends) are all pretty useless. They rate Twitter cards instead.
  • Twitter cards are a good way to advertise for free, and the rich snippet style visual will help you get noticed, make the most of your marketing real estate and improve your click-through rate.

Twitter large image card

  • Large image summary cards are best for blogs, and lead generation and app install cards also come highly rated by the Digiterati crew.

Twitter lead gen card

Take Twitter analytics with a pinch of salt.

  • Twitter analytics are pretty cool but make sure that you put the stats into perspective. Ask yourself, what is engagement and what does it mean to me and my business? Twitter ‘favourites’ is a vanity metric – it makes you feel good but doesn’t really mean much. The only really value to be had is in follows, retweets and replies.

The question marks.

  • Snapchat is a really good platform to use for storytelling if you’re targeting teens or early-twenty-somethings. Bear in mind that it’s a brand awareness platform, not a direct response or conversion based one. You can now also enjoy the ‘nice to have’ geo-filters which enable you to overlay text depending on where or what you’re doing.

snapchat image

  • Periscope is a cool live broadcast platform that auto tweets your broadcast message, so use @ to notify people of your broadcast. For more information, refer to the Up Your Periscope guide.
  • Google+ is here to stay – whether we like it or not. And having an account will only help your SERP rankings because Google likes Google. According to Hubspot, only 15% of marketers have had a good experience with Google+ so perhaps it’s better known as the ‘grin and bear it’ platform.

Around one third of businesses are expected to maintain their current budget for content marketing in 2015, with just a small proportion planning to decrease spend – particularly on paid social distribution.

Remember content marketers, if your objective is to work on organic outreach, you could be missing a trick if you opt not to advertise or at least get creative with snippets and freebies on social media.

You don’t get something for nothing – it’s a pay to play world out there.

How to stay creative in a corporate world

As a copywriter, content marketer (I could be referred to as either depending on who you ask – but that’s a different story) and general wordsmith, I’d most certainly fall into the ‘creative’ bucket of candidates.

And although being a ‘creative’ sounds cool and fashionable it can actually be pretty tough; particularly in a corporate world.

You often feel like you’re butting heads with HiPPO’s – and that hurts.

Most corporates don’t help creatives create

It’s our job as creatives to generate ideas and innovate, but innovation demands time and space – something we often don’t have the luxury of when based in an office surrounded by unwelcome interruptions and “could you just’s…” from colleagues close by.

Google is light-years ahead of everyone else because they get this. They understand that creativity is not deliberate or forced…it’s spontaneous. And spontaneity arises when you break away from conditioning and norms, and choose to make your life less predictable.

Although some ‘corps’ are hard to crack, it helps to be aware of the possible limitations facing your creative role so that you can own it.

What’s actually expected of you?

In absolute terms, it’s hard to define a ‘creative’ role. If creativity is subjective, how do we ensure that we’re giving our bosses what they want?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. Proving your creative worth takes time.

As long as you use data and reputable insights to inform your next move, and ensure everything you’re doing is aligned to the objectives of your employer, keep at it.

And better still, use a measurement tool like Moz or Hubspot to track and improve your content marketing efforts. The big boss wants to see revenue-generating numbers, after all.

Is your environment stimulating?

Without an environment conducive to creativity, how can we expect to see ideas arise from creative team members?

Work the way you work best. We’re all different.

I work best with variety, so a combination of office buzz, coffee shop calm and work from home solitude equals a happy and creative ‘me’. This is how I make my daily routine less predictable.

Many corporates still haven’t cottoned on to the negative side effects of oppressive office based routines for their creative counterparts.

Try speaking with your line manager to negotiate a workplace balance that suits both parties. Some ‘corps’ will give you freedom if you prove that you can deliver, and don’t spend your working-from-home days in the pub.

Are your ideas taken seriously?

If your creative juices are wasted because your employer rejects new ideas on the basis of ‘fear of the unknown’, why bother?

Risk-taking should be encouraged and if your organisation is not receptive to new ideas, it doesn’t support creativity.

Creatives; don’t be put off by your boss’ refusal to try your ideas. Seek other opinions and ask for genuine, justifiable reasons for rejection.

“It won’t work” simply won’t do and it’s a dangerous attitude to have in today’s fast-paced and innovative world.

If an open exchange of ideas among employees at all levels isn’t encouraged, it may be time to take your creative butt elsewhere.

Whatever you think…it’s probably not you

If you’ve not been feeling particularly creative of late and are worried that ‘you’ve lost it’, fear not. If you’ve had it before, you’ll have it again.

Having fun and feeling relaxed at work is how we feel inspired. A stressful or depressing work environment doesn’t encourage us to think outside of the box, and we’re unlikely to come up with any ground-breaking ideas if the environment doesn’t quite suit.

Whatever you do stay positive or make positive changes, because your future creativity depends on it.

Mastering tone of voice

Do you dedicate much time and thought to the way you say what you say?

Contrary to popular belief, content isn’t everything. Not in isolation, anyway.

Tone of voice is crucial if you really want to stand out in your market – rather than just in it.

It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it.

There’s tons of content out there covering pretty much every topic imaginable.  So it’s going to be tough for most of us to successfully disrupt a market and differentiate ourselves without addressing delivery, with the ultimate objective being to evoke emotion.

Think about it.

What do you remember more vividly – the words you’ve read, or the way they made you feel?

Watch your tone…

When you’re communicating with someone face to face, you pick up on social signals that influence how you respond.

Think of content as meeting someone for the first time. You gauge a person’s character, demeanour and intentions within seconds, and then subconsciously process this information to determine how best to respond; both verbally and through body language.

This ability to gauge the thoughts, opinions and feelings of others around you is how we all survive in everyday life. It’s how we make friends, how we engage with new people and how we capture and keep people’s attention.

Fear not, the written word! For cowardice is crippling in content marketing.

Many people fear the written word.

They feel pressure to be overly formal and get stuck when it comes to knowing exactly how to express themselves. Yet we all manage to hold conversations in real life, don’t we?

And that’s what content marketing is today. It’s a conversation. Not a formal, ‘salesy’ or stiff description of your company and what you do.

Instead, written content should be your chance to chat with readers; to give them the opportunity to get to know the real you.

Of course your content needs substance, and it needs to be informative or educational in some way. But remember that tone of voice is what sets you apart, and this needs to come from who you are.

It’s time to slam dunk how you say stuff.

Content marketing guru, Doug Kessler, believes that you could double or treble your return by mastering tone of voice.

Referring to it as “the UX of content” at a recent TFMA event, Doug explains his tone of voice methodology in the following way:

Story (the ‘what’) x voice (the ‘how’) = impact

The ‘what’ needs to solve a problem for your target audience; the ‘how’ needs to come from within. And if you get them both right, you’re on to a winner.

Have you noticed how successful brands and bloggers have this really distinctive voice?

Take Hubspot for instance; their content is not just smart and informative; it’s unique.

Their voice is their personality; it’s what makes ‘them’…well, ‘them’.

And it is their personality that stays with us and makes them memorable. I know that next time I’m looking for the answer to a marketing problem, I’ll look out for something written by these guys because I like the way they explain things and ‘keep it real’ at the same time.

(That’s my personal opinion…but based on Hubspot’s success, it seems it may be popular opinion too.)

And that’s essentially how inbound marketing works.

Don’t underestimate the importance of tone of voice

It is not a ‘flavour’ or added benefit; tone of voice is a fundamental aspect of the content you produce.

And you need to manage it – not just leave it to chance.

Doug’s top tips for managing tone of voice include:

  1. Don’t ‘police’ company content. Instead, coach new hires, writers, editors and approvers so that they understand and ‘get’ your tone of voice strategy.
  2. Create tone of voice guides. Make sure you actually write your guide in your chosen tone of voice (sounds obvious but it’s a good way to lose the respect of your best writers), include good and bad examples of content and create a ‘tone table’ (e.g. write like this, not like this).
  3. Choose 3 base notes that accurately describe who you are (your personality) and how you want to be perceived. For example, we’d describe Innocent as: simple, friendly and silly.
  4. Add accents and don’t be afraid to adapt your tone of voice for the audience, the medium and the situation. Go for ‘consistent variety’; that is, maintain the same core personality but think of different ways to convey it.

It’s only words…but words are all I have

Doug Kessler said; “Fire your good writers – you need great writers.”

And he’s right; ruthless but right.

Because good just won’t cut it anymore.

You need kick ass, confident writers – wordsmiths who’re unafraid to take risks; who fail fast and push new boundaries.

It’s hard to produce content that is 100% original, yet no two people are the same. We can’t ever have the same experience of life, the same perspective, the same mind as any other person.

Use this to your advantage and let your personality differentiate your product, service or solution.

How Google stays innovative – Dan Cobley provides top tips at JLA breakfast

This week, I attended a JLA speaker breakfast featuring Dan Cobley, former MD at Google UK, where we discussed the importance of innovation and how businesses like Google facilitate creativity.

Every business, every new venture, product or service offering requires vision.

And the only way to be truly successful in the professional workspace is to always be one step ahead of the competition and ensure that your company keeps moving forward.

No matter how ambitious the plan may seem, you have to start somewhere.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” Robin Williams

All ideas stem from somewhere, and the best ones often seem outlandish at the time.

The concept of a smartphone that uses voice activated data to communicate in a human way would have seemed implausible to most just a few years ago.

Yet topic modelling and semantic connectivity has enabled smartphone technology to evolve past question and answer interchange; it has now become a suggestive tool that builds a bank of knowledge around personalised behaviours and demographics to offer you tailored information before you’ve even asked for it.

Google recruits people who believe that the impossible can become a reality.

Imagination backed by data is the best way to provide something innovative that sells. There needs to be evidence of a need for something similar in your market, but it shouldn’t already exist.

Dan discussed Google Glass in yesterday’s session.

“Did you know that the average consumer takes their smartphone out of their pocket 150 times a day?

“What if we could create something that is available automatically (focus on user experience) that minimises a consumers need to dip in and out of their pockets continuously throughout the day?”

Google Glass

Google Glass developers were tasked with creating one new prototype per week but they could not use any of the components that they had used in the previous prototype. This forced them to be creative and resourceful, and truly showed what could be done.

Google innovator, Sebastian Thrun, believed that he could make the impossible possible when he explored the idea of driverless cars.

Thrun is building technology for driverless cars to reduce the number of lives lost to roadside accidents each year. These cars, still in development, have logged 140,000 hands-free miles and suffered only 2 accidents – both of which were caused when the stationary driverless car was struck by moving driver operated cars.

Google Car

An idea begins with intuition but must be fuelled by insights. Data is there to help prove your hypothesis or disprove an idea altogether.

Nurturing a culture that allows for innovation is the key.

Taking risks

You must be committed to promoting innovation and risk taking in your organisation to succeed as thought leaders in your industry.

One of the best parts of working on the web is that it is a process of continual improvement. Google watches users from a distance to find out what works and what doesn’t, and then they act on that insight.

When they fail, they fail fast; Google learn from their mistakes and correct them quickly. Knowing that it’s okay to fail can free you up to take risks, because without taking risks, you get left behind.

People remember your successes more than your failures.

Sharing information and ideas

By sharing everything with everyone, you encourage discussion, idea exchange and suggestions which can lead to unexpected and innovative outcomes.

Google employees are kept aware of everything that goes on in their organisation and work in open plan offices, often in small teams, to ensure that hallway conversations and water cooler brainstorms are encouraged as a means of idea generation.

Open source technologies also enable anyone, anywhere, to apply unique skills, perspectives and passions to influence new products and features, and this can be a great way to harness insights and ideas from across the globe.

Co-creation can help generate better ideas, faster, and improve existing ones.

Listen to everyone – customers, partners, advertisers and every person in your team. Beware the boardroom HiPPO.

HiPPO’s (highest-paid-person’s-opinion) are dangerous creatures that pose significant threat to innovation if involved too early in the creative stage.

Teams do need HiPPOs to lead the group and keep everyone on track, but their presence can often overshadow group opinions and stifle creativity due to the influence of authority.

Remember to let the best ideas win—not the loudest voices.

Thanks to JLA and Dan Cobley for such a thought provoking speaker’s breakfast on November 18 2014 at Portland Place, London.


Train station advertising – does it work?

Has anyone else noticed how Oxford Circus station appears to have become particularly ‘exclusive’ with its advertising recently?

Having gotten used to scanning a mixed bag of theatre ads, charity promos and ‘Are you tired of being tired?’ advertisements on my daily commute through Seven Sisters, I was somewhat delighted to find myself in the tunnel of pure, uninterrupted David Gandy.

It got my attention.

Imagine my joy at discovering that the exclusive and identical M&S ads of David (yes we’re on first name terms) continued on my journey up the escalator.

“Fantastic advertising strategy” in my (slightly biased) opinion, I thought.

The following week (to my dismay) Mr Gandy had been replaced by an attractive woman in hosiery advertising Calzedonia – I remember the name.

The same, wall to wall plastering of posters with no obvious call to action – just the brand name and an attractive woman modelling the product.

Yes, I remembered the brand name. But I’m probably not going to shop there.

And it got me thinking.

One weeks’ worth of exclusive advertising in a place of such high footfall (Oxford Circus sees more than 53 million passengers a year pass through its barriers) must have cost a bomb.

Is it all really worth it?

It has long been known that repeated visual exposure to an object can affect an observer’s preference for it.

The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle.

In studies of interpersonal attraction, the more often a person is seen by someone, the more pleasing and likeable that person appears to be.

And perhaps most importantly, these advertisements are non-conscious mechanisms, and their strategic placement means that we almost become desensitised to them as a sales tool; instead they become preferable and familiar.

But what does this mean in terms of tangible results?

I’ve scoured the web looking for information and evidence relating to the success or failure or train station advertising – particularly when adopting this exclusive advertising approach rather than risk dilution – and haven’t found much on the subject.

I’m really keen to know more.

So if you’ve got any first hand experience, insight or an opinion and would like to share, please comment below or email . Thanks guys!

Marketing Explained: the differences between Copywriting and Content Marketing, and what YOU should be doing in 2015

‘Copywriting’ and ‘Content Marketing’; two phrases often used interchangeably and the topic of much debate and confusion.

So which is which, and what are you doing?

Or more importantly, what should you be doing?

Firstly, let’s clear up any confusion over the differences between the two concepts.


Copywriting is writing copy for the purpose of advertising or marketing. The copy is meant to persuade someone to buy a product, or influence their beliefs.”

Copywriting is an active method of achieving sales, often involving a ‘push strategy’ whereby the product or service is taken directly to the customer.

Examples of copywriting include:

  • Landing pages
  • Advertising
  • PR
  • Direct mail

These communications are designed to get the reader to take a specific action, and therefore a successful copywriter must be persuasive, creative and direct in their approach.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a marketing technique for creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Content marketing is typically a more passive way of capturing the attention of your prospects, and usually favours the ‘pull strategy’, as with any inbound marketing approach.

Examples of content marketing include:

  • Blogs
  • White papers
  • Infographics
  • Viral video

Content marketing is essentially the creation of valuable content that has a marketing purpose but is not overtly ‘salesy’; that is, it exists to educate and inform the reader above all else.

The most important bit…

It’s essential that you combine the most powerful elements of each going forwards, as neither concept is likely to work very well in isolation.

Use elements of both copywriting and content marketing to initiate a powerful, integrated marketing plan in 2015.

Most of us fall into one of two categories (a copywriter or a content marketer) so here’s how you can identify where you sit, why you’ve been missing out on customers, and how you can weave ‘the opposition’ into your work for maximum impact.

“I’m a content marketer and I’ve got loads of top notch content but very few readers – what am I doing wrong?”

Enter copywriting.

1. Address your headlines

Are your headlines punchy, enticing and rife with consumer benefits?

Even if you’re taking a more passive content approach and want to leave out the ‘salesy’ bit, you need to identify and promote a benefit to the reader. Writing killer headlines can be tricky and this is where copywriting skills come into play.

2. Actively build an online presence

To get more readers, you’ll need to build an online presence and the only way to do that is to take a more direct (copywriting) approach.

Leverage social proof in a subtle and informative way. Encourage comments on your blog, either by asking for them or including a thought provoking question at the end.

Psssst! You could even buddy up and ask a fellow blogger to get the ball rolling. Offer to return the favour by commenting on their next post.

It’s always worth mentioning any references from your PR activity to maximise leverage, e.g. “As mentioned / recommended in the Broxbourne Weekly” to help you build trust through association.

3. Call to action (CTA)

Is it clear what do you want your readers to do?

Make sure you include clear CTA’s so that your readers can subscribe to future posts or share content – fail to do this and you risk being lost in the sea of online content.

The careful integration of copywriting techniques into high quality content marketing can help you build a large, loyal audience and secure those desired conversions.

“I’m a copywriter and there’s not much I can learn from content marketing – I’m already good at getting people to read my stuff.”

Oh how wrong you are copywriter. How wrong you are.

You might be a dab hand at convincing your readers to take action but your victory will be short lived if you don’t address human interest and relevancy in your content for longer term brand building.

We’re becoming less and less of a transactional marketplace and those willing to change and adapt are the most likely to survive.

As a rule of thumb, your content should be entertaining, informative and subtly salesy – limit or eradicate self-promotional content; it’s old hat.

Here are some tips for injecting some content marketing into your copywriting:

  • Give something valuable away, just because… Build trust through the delivery of consistent, ‘precious’ information and advice in the form of free downloadable guides or articles.
  • Tell a story – an emotive approach will capture the attention of your audience and if executed purposefully and strategically, should compel them to take the desired action and stick around in the longer term
  • Don’t write ‘advertising’ copy if you want your content to be taken seriously and read thoroughly. Consider native advertising if that’s the approach you want to take.
  • Whatever you do, don’t write for search engines! Write for people. Even the search engines will ignore you if they suspect you of favouring them over your customers.
  • Make sure your content does what it says on the tin. Don’t promise an answer to a question with a cleverly constructed headline and then deliver an irrelevant, self-promotional piece. This will damage relationships.
Basically, don’t publish rubbish.

‘Stickable’ content depends on a healthy marriage of the two concepts; copywriting and content marketing.

We want to see strategically built, high quality content with a clear goal and purpose, that informs and educates – and so do your customers for that matter.

Setting Your PPC Budget – OR NOT

One of the most common pay per click (PPC) misconceptions I come into contact with is the budget capping vs cost per acquisition (CPA) approach to bidding strategy.

Can PPC seem scary if you don’t cap spend at a particular amount?

Of course it can. But if you manage the bidding process correctly (or have a decent PPC agency to do this for you), spend can be as great or as little as the business you convert.

Let’s break this down.

When you allocate a low PPC budget to a campaign, Google will either show your ad sporadically for short periods throughout the day, or use the entire days advertising budget in the morning. As most online shoppers tend to browse before committing to a purchase, this approach is unlikely to improve your conversion rate as when prospects come to buy, lack of budget could mean that you’ve dropped off the edge of the ‘Google’ Earth (figuratively speaking).

earth, spaceman

A much better way to approach your PPC strategy is to focus on measuring your advertising efforts based on the business you acquire and the cost of acquisition. YOU CAN’T LOSE!

Ask yourself; “how much am I willing to spend per customer/client?”

Every business and/or marketing department should invest in regular research and analysis to determine the lifetime value of each of their customers. From this, one can determine the maximum CPA (or maximum amount we can afford to spend to win a new customer) to ensure all marketing efforts are profitable.

It’s amazing how many companies don’t have this information to hand!

Once you have calculated your CPA you should set your monthly PPC budget to suit the volume of enquiries/sales you expect to gain. It’s really quite simple.

Approaching your PPC budget setting strategy in AdWords

Now we have the CPA, we can further research the keywords in our chosen Ad Group.

Using the Keyword Planner tool in Google AdWords (which combines the functionality of Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator) you can find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them, and find the bid and budget to suit you.

If estimated spend based on your existing keyword list is higher than expected, you may have to delete some keywords from the group.

e-card ppc

If your company is bidding on too many non-specific keywords, this can result in rapid budget consumption and low conversion rates.

As soon as an account goes live, very generic keyword phrases can generate high numbers of impressions that don’t result in clicks. This will immediately have an adverse effect on the click through rate (CTR) of your entire account – an element that will be detrimental to your Google quality score (we will come on to this). It is therefore essential that any phrases with high numbers of impressions and a CTR of less than 1% are deleted as soon as possible.

NB: once the campaign is live, you should be closely reviewing and/or deleting any phrases with low click through and conversion rates on an ongoing basis.

Once we have our definitive (and affordable) keyword list, we can focus on refining our AdWord bidding technique to reduce the relevance of budget in favour of conversion rates and CPCs.

Time to add conversion tracking.

Once a customer completes an online sale or registration, they will typically land on a thank you page.

We will need to add a tracking code (generated by AdWords) to this page which will feed data back to the PPC account so we can identify best performing keywords and the corresponding conversion rates.

Conversion tracking will also enable us to optimise conversions through testing of keywords, landing pages and search v display testing.

Now keep your eyes on the prize! Your account needs to be nurtured…

keep your eyes on the prize

It is essential that you closely manage your new PPC account to optimise your bidding strategy and ensure you are working profitably. Here are some great free Google Tutorials that go into more detail on how to manage your bids.

It is also important to review your account to continuously improve your Google quality score. A good quality score is determined by the relevancy of your keywords to landing page, and the overall quality of ad copy (with close consideration given to historical and current click through rates).

A good quality score will result in a higher SERP ranking and a lower cost per click – both of which contribute towards the reduction of your CPA. To translate…your boss will love you.

Hopefully this post has got you thinking about PPC a little differently and introduced new ideas and considerations to ensure you maximise your paid advertising efforts.

How to create a successful integrated marketing campaign that gets results

I’d like to share with you details of a recent campaign I created for a company called Cobia. This post was written with the intention of helping guide fellow marketers in their campaign planning approach, and show how quantifiable results in marketing can now be easily achieved using integrated online reporting and measurement tools.

Project brief/introduction

Cobia is a professional services outsourcing provider specialising in accountancy, employment tax, expenses & benefits management, payroll and pensions auto enrolment solutions.

The government were due to provide a pensions auto enrolment staging date to companies with between 1 and 25o employees by April 2014 . This SME market is Cobia’s primary client base, and the fact that Cobia already specialise in payroll meant that they could conveniently remove the administrative burden of auto enrolment by adjusting payslips in accordance with new pension law as they passed through the payroll process.

For a small fee of £1.50 per payroll per month, the hassle of auto enrolment could be confidently taken away. Cobia were also working in collaboration with Scottish Widows to offer a bespoke auto enrolment platform for typically low salary transient workforces – an undesirable market for many pension providers due to low margins.

We had our USP. We could target the security and facilities management sector – already a substantial proportion of our client base – and offer them an affordable and easy solution to pension auto enrolment that no other company could at the time; a simple service bolt on that could prove considerably profitable for Cobia.


To increase awareness of new pension auto enrolment service offering and increase sales conversions within 3 months.

Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning

Identified B2B target markets:

  • Cross selling to existing clients with up to 250 employees
  • Targeting new clients within the security and facilities management industry with up to 250 employees
  • SIA (security industry association) members with up to 250 employees
  • HR Managers and Financial Directors

By segmenting the above data we can produce tailored, personalised campaigns to ensure a unique approach to individuals at different stages of the sales cycle.

My integrated approach

Existing clients – cross sell

Existing clients were presented to face to face by sales teams who already had established relationships with point of contacts. Cobia Account Managers were supported with sales collateral and auto enrolment guides created in partnership with Scottish Widows. Personalised e-marketing campaigns were sent to those ‘warm’ clients who expressed interest but did not formally commit to the sale.


Wider audience – web focus

  • Create landing page – positioned as a pensions auto enrolment ‘mini guide’ on what SME’s should expect regarding the impending implementation
  • PPC campaign – tailored ad groups to drive traffic to page. Measurable Ad Goals: visits to landing page & request an information pack download
  • Content marketing – tailored blog content to feature 2 pension specific articles per week and 1 link building post distributed to third party sites
  • Social media promotions – daily posts promoting snippets of the landing page guide and blog posts


  • Professional Security magazine – monthly circ 25,000, 85% SME’s and readership demographic – HR Managers, Managing Directors and Financial Directors
  • Historical data proved this Title had best ROI for Cobia
  • Paid quarterly full page advertorial
  • Rolling banner ad on Professional Security site with link to Cobia pensions landing page

SIA Members

Member data segmented and e-marketing mailers sent from SIA on behalf of Cobia to introduce services. Power of association through strong partnership with industry body,


  • To provide a dynamic introduction to auto enrolment and what it means for SME’s, and position Cobia as experts in field
  • Keynote speaker from Scottish Widows
  • Recorded and available to download after session


The webinar was a huge success with approximately 200 registered and 122 attendees. Further downloads after the event supported this and positive feedback in surveys and social media polls proved it was a successful way to position Cobia as reliable advisors in this area.

Face to face meetings were arranged with 6 SIA members. These are still in progress but considering the low cost of e-marketing and based on the annual earning potential of just 1 client with 250 employees @ £1.50 per head per month, the return on investment from just one client will be substantial and enough to justify the annual SIA membership fee (not to mention additional benefits e.g. access to information).

Within 1 month, overall website traffic increased by 18%, of which 80% can be attributed to the pensions landing page. We can see traffic sources range from third party websites, social media platforms and paid for advertising. There was a total of 98 goal completions within 1 month for the PPC element of the project.

Top 5 Inbound Marketing Campaigns 2013


Interruptive marketing is out. Content marketing is in.

But you already knew that right?

Here are my top 5 inbound marketing campaigns of 2013. Check out these inspiring examples of top quality content marketing.

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